Yorkshire athletes 'brilliant'

South Wales Argus: Dickie Bird has praised Jessica Ennis, pictured, and Yorkshire's other gold medal-winning athletes Dickie Bird has praised Jessica Ennis, pictured, and Yorkshire's other gold medal-winning athletes

Cricket umpire Dickie Bird thinks the realisation his beloved Yorkshire would be beating Japan and Australia on the Olympics medal table if it was a country is a tribute to the county's "absolutely brilliant" athletes.

Twitter users have been pointing out that competitors from the county had won four golds, two silvers and two bronzes by the end of Sunday.

As countries on the medal table are ranked first by golds won, this would put an independent Yorkshire 10th on the table, just behind Russia but ahead of Japan (two golds), Australia (one gold) and India (no golds). The county is also well ahead of Usain Bolt's Jamaica (two golds).

With the Brownlee brothers, from Leeds, widely expected to be in the medals in the triathlon, Yorkshire's total could soon be higher.

Star turn, of course, is Jessica Ennis, who was born and bred in Sheffield, while cyclist Ed Clancy was born in Barnsley and lived for most of his life in the Huddersfield area.

Andrew Triggs-Hodge, the gold medal rower, was brought up in the Grassington area of the Yorkshire Dales, while gold medal-winning rower Kat Copeland lives in Ingleby Barwick near Middlesbrough, which is traditionally thought of as part of Yorkshire.

Retired Yorkshire cricketer and umpire Bird, 79, who still lives in his native Barnsley, South Yorkshire, said: "I think the whole thing has been tremendous, marvellous, fantastic. It's been great for the county and great for the nation. It's just what we needed.

"The Yorkshire competitors have done absolutely brilliantly. Yorkshire folk are wonderful, wonderful people known for their hard work and sheer Yorkshire grit which has pulled them through.

"I have no doubt Jessica Ennis would win a gold because of her determination and mental strength. When she won she had a tear in her eye, and I did too. I feel so proud for her and her parents and family. I just wish she came from Barnsley, not Sheffield."

Other Yorkshire medalists are Lizzie Armitstead, from Otley, who won Team GB's first medal: a silver in the women's cycling road race; Nicola Wilson, from Northallerton, who won silver in the team eventing competition; and rower Tom Ransley, who lives in York and rows for York City Rowing Club, was part of the British men's eight crew which won bronze.

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